January 10, 2020 / 6:27 AM / 11 days ago

Thornton scores winner as Sharks beat Jackets

EditorsNote: Corrects time of goal in graf 5

Jan 9, 2020; San Jose, California, USA; Dill the dog practices dropping a puck before a match between the Columbus Blue Jackets and San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Dill, a golden retriever/Labrador mix from the non-profit Canine Companions which provides service dogs to the disabled, later officially dropped the puck on the ice. Mandatory Credit: Cody Glenn-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Thornton scored the winning goal in his 1,612th NHL game, tying Ray Bourque for 11th place on the league’s all-time list, as the host San Jose Sharks snapped the Columbus Blue Jackets’ nine-game road point streak with a 3-1 victory Thursday night.

Kevin Labanc had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who also got a goal from Brent Burns. Goaltender Aaron Dell made 30 saves.

Sonny Milano scored for the Blue Jackets, who had gone 6-0-3 during their away streak. Elvis Merzlikins stopped 30 of 33 shots in losing for just the second time in six games since taking over for the injured Joonas Korpisalo.

The Sharks played without captain Logan Couture, the team’s leading scorer with 36 points (14 goals, 22 assists). It was announced earlier in the day that Couture, San Jose’s All-Star Game representative, suffered a fractured left ankle while crashing into the end boards on Tuesday in St. Louis and would miss up to six weeks.

After a scoreless first period, Labanc gave the Sharks a lead at 1:01 of the second by picking up a loose puck at the top of the crease and knocking it into the net.

Thornton made it 2-0 on the power play at 13:28. After winning a faceoff in the Columbus zone, defenseman Erik Karlsson and Thornton passed the puck from point to point before Thornton unleashed a slap shot from the top of the left circle that found the top right corner of the net. Merzlikins was screened by Barclay Goodrow.

Milano pulled the Blue Jackets within a goal at 18:12 of the second, stealing the puck from Burns deep in the San Jose zone and skating to the net before avoiding a poke check from Dell and slipping a backhander between the goalie’s pads.

Burns restored the two-goal lead at 2:09 of the third, corralling the rebound of a point shot by Labanc and putting a backhander over Merzlikins.

—Field Level Media

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